January 29, 2010

Ripple the second

Jayne's Soft Waves Ripple in Progress

When I finished the first Ripple blanket in July, my sister mentioned that she wanted one in pink and brown, so I made plans to start one for her in the Fall. I fully expected to finish in time to give it to her for Christmas, but the shop ran out of one of the colors I was using. When the yarn arrived, I finished the afghan -- another "lap" size of about 38" x 52". It's the same yarn as the previous Ripple - Cascade 220 Superwash - and I actually washed this one in the washing machine and dried it on the lowest setting in my dryer and it fared very well, becoming noticeably softer. I love this yarn, but as much as I enjoyed it, I think I'm definitely rippled out for a while.

Pink and Brown Soft Waves Ripple

It's in her hands now and she loves it!

There have been other projects on the needles (rather than just the hook) and I'll be happy to share them the first chance I get.

January 18, 2010

My favorite accomplishments of 2009

My 2009 Favorites

1. Knitting a sock monkey
2. Achieving some personal goals
3. Learning how to crochet*

Since getting some new books, I'm tempted to experiment with crocheting some garments first:

Crochet Adorned by Linda Perman
Crochet Adorned, by Linda Perman


Everyday Crochet, by Doris Chan

From the introduction in Doris Chan's book:

If you would love to wear your own creations, but struggle with the crocheting because you have fitting or sizing issues, then dive in here. From sleek camisoles to pullovers, cardigans, and coats, the designs in this book contain the elements and guidance to help you make well-fitting, attractive crocheted clothes that you will be proud to wear.

Hers is an interesting approach - crocheting top down with shell stitches. The shells expand down and out rather than up and out, which allows for some natural shaping. And, similar to knitting, top-down construction allows you to try on the garment in progress so you can revise as you go. I'm anxious to try it out but a little bit uncertain about choosing yarn for these projects. I'm not as confident in deviating from the yarns recommended by crochet designers.

Meanwhile, I have plans to knit a sweater for Paul this year as well. I decided on a pattern from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. He prefers a looser fit, so I'm going to knit him a Drop Shoulder-style sweater with turned up, hemmed sleeves. Swatching has already begun:

Cascade 220 Swatch Color 1913

This should be an interesting year.

Continue reading "My favorite accomplishments of 2009" »

July 09, 2009

The Fast and the Finished

Meet "Georgia," the cheeky monkey interpreted as a knit (and crocheted) coffee cup cozy:

Sock monkey cup cozy based on a free pattern on Ravelry
[Flickr] [Ravelry]

As soon as I finished (!), washed and blocked my Soft Waves Ripple, Jr., I grabbed the yarn and pattern for this quick project fix. From start to finish (if you already have the yarn and buttons) the cup cozy can be completed in about two hours. I had so much fun making this. A few months ago, a co-worker of mine at the yarn shop shared the free pattern she found on Ravelry (designer: Alejandra Quiroz) and we each bought a skein of the Manos Wool Clasica "Naturals" and split it three ways. I loved knitting with the yarn -- especially the lighter-colored one that I used for the monkey face. In the skein, it's lightly marled; you don't really see the potential until it's knit. It looks a little bit rustic and wild, and it makes a perfectly cute monkey.

And did I mention I was finished with the Ripple?! I have to admit that I was really sick of it towards the end and so glad I chose to make a smaller version of the blanket. To recap for those who haven't seen my notes on Ravelry, I used Cascade 220 Superwash (about 15 different colors). I started with a Boye 4.25mm (G) crochet hook but lost it (probably somewhere in the sofa) and finished with a Susan Bates 4.25mm (G) hook. Each stripe was 2 rows of the ripple pattern, all double crochet stitches. As I've shared before, this ripple was one of my motivations for wanting to learn how to crochet in the first place, so I'm pleased I stuck with it and finished it. I'm already planning at least one more, slightly wider and longer, for my sister Jayne who requested a pink / brown / white color scheme.



For those of you who are local, the blanket will be at Twisted Yarns for a while. Feel free to squish it.

June 23, 2009

Ripples resumed recently

Soft Waves Ripple - Crochet
[Flickr] [Ravelry]

I finally had a chance to work on my Ripple blanket last week. It had been so long that I was sure I'd forgotten how to do it. However, I picked up my hook and was able to continue where I left off. I love that about crochet -- it seems to be more forgiving of being put aside for a while. The only downside to the project is having several pounds of wool in my lap while I work on each new row. Our heat index has been in the low- to mid-100's and while I know I'll appreciate the Ripple's warmth during the chill of the fall and winter, it's not so comfortable right now. I also catch myself daydreaming about other ripple color combos while I'm crocheting this very random and unplanned one.

Soft Waves Ripple - Crochet

Crochet continues to be what's inspiring me lately -- yet I do intend to pick up knitting needles and complete some projects . . . eventually. Twisted Yarns will be getting the Spud & Chloƫ yarns and patterns and I'm very excited about it. I love that the yarn is a wool/cotton blend and the colors seem so vibrant. See more at Leslie's blog entry regarding the TNNA show - you'll get excited too! And don't miss Susan B. Anderson's introduction and background information.

Thank you all for the kind birthday wishes. I had a great birthday and I'm still enjoying my new Kindle. I know there are those who are skeptical about ebooks, and for me it's a way to read current fiction bestsellers as well as classic literature. But rest assured -- I'm still buying knitting (and now crochet) books!

March 30, 2009

You can come home again

I had to take a short blog sabbatical while Erica moved back home again after living in Florida for two years. We're all adjusting to the new rhythm of the household, but we're delighted she's back with us for a while. So, that's the reason for my serious lack of knitting during the month of March. The crochet project - the Ripple - is something I pick up and work on whenever I have a spot of time.

Rumpled Soft Ripple Crochet Blanket

My best decision about this blanket was to keep it on the small side -- it's a junior-size afghan. The decision I most regret is including the "Aran" or white yarn. But since this is the first of what will be many softly-rippled crochet blankets, my next one(s) will be planned better and I'll be trying cotton or cotton-blends.

Anybody else notice the crochet resurgence? Now's a great time to jump in and start crocheting -- whether it's for the first time or the first time in a long time. Check out Flickr if you need a dose of crochet inspiration. I also made a mosaic this morning that includes colorful crochet visuals and some other random images that made me smile.

Finally, this is my week to Fix, Frog, or Finish my fiber projects. It's also time to de-stash, donate and declutter. Watch this space for more information. You might score some cool fibers.

March 18, 2009

Soft Waves Ripple

Soft Waves Ripple - smaller size
Soft Waves Ripple on Ravelry

Once in a while there's this desire fueled by obsession that's immediately foiled by the realization of lack of knowledge and skill. That was me a couple of years ago when I was reading this blog entry at Posie Gets Cozy. (At the time, the link(s) she pointed to all worked, but some of them no longer do). I enjoyed all of Alicia's "Ripple" blog entries up to the final result.

The appeal of this particular ripple is that it's not "chevron-y." There are no pointy peaks so reminiscent of eyeball-burning 70's crochet. The softer ripple pattern was so visually soothing and I wanted one! And remember when I shamelessly requested and then received one from my friend Stacey? Oh yeah - I did. And I love it and treasure it.

But. I put it out there -- a wispy wish to learn to crochet that grew into searching for endless crochet favorites on Ravelry. And if you click enough hearts on those crochet projects, your crocheting co-worker will notice and send you a message asking when she can teach you to crochet already! (That "Friends Activity" tab makes one very transparent apparently). Ann taught me to crochet in a 2-hour session at the yarn shop and I blogged about it briefly here. A couple of days after my crochet lesson, my mom arrived for what turned into a challenging seven-week visit. And at the halfway point of her stay here, I purchased the first several skeins for the planned Ripple, which I'd decided had to be in Cascade 220 Superwash. I wasn't able to focus on knitting due to feeling stressed and short of time, so I crocheted smaller things in order to work with the Cascade and get an idea how it would feel to crochet with it.

While I've traded one family crisis for another and in spite of many other long-term knits in progress, I figured . . . why the hell NOT just start the blanket with the colors I have? So I bought the book in which the pattern appears - 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns: Exciting Patterns to Knit & Crochet for Afghans, Blankets & Throws, by Jan Eaton. I had NO idea it would include both knitting and crochet patterns -- that was a total bonus! If you wish to attempt a Ripple without buying this book, there is a free pattern online that looks really good too. Jan Eaton's book, however, is the source of the "Soft Waves" Ripple - page 19. I started this on Saturday night after asking Gayle (another co-worker) for help understanding the instructions. There are no charts in this book and that can sometimes clarify things when I get stuck. Here's the progress since Saturday:


I really needed this bit of success in conquering a project where I could directly control the outcome -- and rip out a dozen times if I needed to.